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Tuesday, August 3, 2021

JUDGMENT: Industrial Court Orders Firm to Pay Ex-staff N703,000 Entitlement Claims within 30 Days

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The National Industrial Court sitting in Lagos has declared the employment termination of Mr. David Aweh from Oxford Hotels Limited as wrongful; ordered firm to pay Aweh the sum of N503,000.00 deducted and Outstanding salary, N400,000 salaries in lieu of notice, with N200,000 cost of action within 30 days.

In the judgement, His Lordship, Hon. Justice Dele Peters held that there is no justification for the conduct of the firm and it is against both National laws as well as international labour best practice.

The Claimant- Mr. David Aweh had claimed that upon employment he was allocated a car as an official vehicle with no document given to that effect, that while on his way to work, he had an accident with the car, that he offered to bear 50% of the cost of repairs of the vehicle; that the Defendant started to deduct 50% of his salary to meet the 50% of the cost he undertook to bear.

The defendant counter-claimed for the cost of the vehicle involved in the accident, among others that the Claimant was on his own frolic at the time he had an accident with the company vehicle; that the firm reserved the right to summarily terminate the employment of the Claimant instead of payment in lieu of notice.

The firm submitted further that it was Claimant that elected to pay 50% of the cost of repairs of the vehicle; that the vehicle was never fully repaired and it became a write-off due to the accident.

The Counsel to the claimant, L. A. Agu Esq. prayed the Court to dismiss the counter-claim of #5,000,000.00 for not supported by any evidence, and urged the court to grant all reliefs sought.

Delivering Judgment, the presiding Judge, Justice Dele Peters held that to reject a letter of resignation of appointment amounts to compelling an employee to remain in employment against his will.

“This conduct of the Defendant amounts to termination of employment of the Claimant. Unfortunately, the Defendant failed to comply with the requirement of 2 months’ notice. This makes the termination wrongful.

“I hold that there is no valid justification for the action of the Defendant in deducting from salary and remunerations of the Claimant. The Defendant did not deny deducting the salary of the Claimant to the tune of =N=303,000.00. It only offered an explanation as to why it did so.

“I have found and held that there is no justification for the conduct of the Defendant and that same is against both national laws as well as international best practice in labour.”

Justice Dele Peters later dismissed the counter-claim for lack of proof.

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